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Predicting Volcanic Eruptions

This month on Newsdesk: A giant volcano erupts, sharks film seagrass, and scientists film strange octopus behaviour.

A Giant Volcano Erupts

Hawaii is home to 15 volcanoes, and on November 27th, the largest volcano on the islands erupted. The volcano, Mauna Loa, is over four kilometres tall, and last erupted almost 40 years ago. Lava has streamed down the sides of the volcano, and volcanic gases have been released by the eruption.

Volcanologists are scientists who research volcanoes, and many have rushed to Mauna Loa to study the ongoing eruption. Fortunately, local communities haven't suffered serious disruption. However, a nearby observatory has been shut down. The observatory monitors levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but the eruption cut off its power, forcing it to close.

Sharks Film Seagrass

Seagrass grows in shallow coastal waters around the world. The underwater grass provides a safe habitat for many species, and also absorbs harmful greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Scientists are eager to protect seagrass meadows, but they can be difficult to locate from above the water. But now, they are getting some help finding them from some unexpected assistants—tiger sharks!

Scientists in the Caribbean have been carefully catching tiger sharks, attaching cameras to them, and releasing them back into the sea. As the sharks swim, the cameras record them passing through areas of seagrass.

The recordings can then be studied to help figure out exactly where seagrass meadows are located. Scientists hope that the discovery of new seagrass areas will enable them to better protect these magnificent underwater meadows!

Scientists Film Strange Octopus Behaviour

Octopuses live in most of the world's oceans. The tentacled creatures spend most of their time alone, and don’t often come into close contact with each other. However, scientists have filmed what happens when octopuses do get close to one another, and the footage is surprising!

They filmed a species known as the “gloomy octopus” near the Australian coast. Some recordings show the octopuses throwing shells at others as they try to get near, and others show octopuses spraying sand!

Scientists are trying to find out if this behaviour shows that octopuses like to protect their peace and quiet, or whether there may be another reason behind their unusual behaviour!

Learn more about volcanoes by watching Twig Film Predicting Volcanic Eruptions.

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